I have recently purchased a grafted fruit tree. The base is a pear tree with a mix of plum, peach, nectarine and other stone fruit grafted on each branch. I purchased the tree from a farm and they said it can survive in a pot for the winter on the balcony of a Toronto condo. After speaking to others with gardening expertise they are not sure. I would love any advice on how to give it the best change of survival, such as size of planter to use and any coverings in the winter. I have the option of buying a big planter to leave it outside, or to bring the plant indoors in the winter at a location that still receives full sun.
Any advice or further reading would be appreciated.
Thank you in advance.
P.S. description of tree attached as a picture.
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.
Toronto is in hardiness zone 5 which is the same zone as shown on the information tag that came with your tree.
However, depending on the exposure of your condo balcony, the microclimate in that particular location may actually be in a slightly lower hardiness zone. A north facing balcony several floors above ground level with not much wind protection may put the tree at risk of winter damage.
If, on the other hand you have a relatively sheltered balcony, select a properly sized insulated container and the rootstock has been specifically chosen for winter resilience, the risk of winter damage to the tree may be minimal.
The container should be at least 12 – 16″ wider than the diameter of the rootball. The size of the tree may be a bigger concern. The tree is advertised as growing to a height of 4m (~13ft) and a spread of 3.5m (~12ft). These dimensions may be excessively large for a condo balcony, and would make even a young tree difficult to move indoors for the winter.
I have attached a link to a site that provides further information on growing fruit trees in containers.
All this being said, there are a few other considerations you should consider before planting – is container gardening allowed by your condo board, is there a weight restriction on your balcony for a large tree and do you have an adequate water supply nearby.
Hope this information is helpful, good luck.